About me

Jean Hirons paints with pastel and is an avid teacher of the medium. Primarily a landscape painter, focusing on architecture in the landscape, she occasionally explores other subjects, such as still life, her cat, and whatever catches her fancy. Jean taught a class in pastel for seven years at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD and now teaches at the Yellow Barn in Glen Echo Park, Bethesda, as well as privately. In 2012, she published Finding Your Style in Pastel, a book based on her teaching and painting experiences that explores the many uses of the medium.

Jean retired from the Library of Congress in 2003 after a thirty year career as a librarian. During this time, she created the standard documentation used for serials catalogers and an international training program. In addition to painting, Jean plays classical piano, taking lessons and participating in a monthly piano group. She is married and lives with her husband, John Hansman, and their tuxedo cat, Charlie, in Rockville, MD.

12 thoughts on “About me

  1. Hello, jean! Love your blog…not to mention this newest painting! Would you consider putting your name somewhere in the main blog title, or instead of ‘admin’? I had to spend five minutes searching for some clue who wrote this…might help readership.

    Ps: always feel free to offer me tips, too…we all work in a vacuum :)


    • Vicki–I did consider putting my name there, but when I tried it out it looked huge and too much! So I decided to take the more subtle route. I like the title because it takes off on the book. The subtitle could have been By Jean Hirons, the author of … But I think I’ll leave it as it is. One of the things I love about the blog is that I no longer feel like I am working in a vacuum! The best way to get comments is to send me images via email. I’m honest with my critiques and I love to do them.

  2. Love your work ! Enjoy the WIPS . Can you say what paper you use and do you ever make your own sanded ground. I love wallis and colorfix ,but have been using clear gesso (it has grit ) on mat board. All my best !

    • Thanks Sandi. Many years ago I tried using gesso and found it to be very hard. But it might have been what I applied it to. Mat board is a fairly soft surface. I’ve also used the Golden ground. But I prefer the Art Spectrum Colourfix liquid primer. It seems to have just the right abount of grit to it. I have two cans of it (ordered one by mistake) and have no desire to try to make my own at this point. As to paper, I been using UART 400 and 500 lately. Also used Ampersand pastelbord and Pastelmat. Now, however, I’m using Rives BFK white printmaking paper with the AS gel applied to it (toned with liquid acrylic). It provides a nice nubby surface that I like a lot. It’s a change from the sanded surfaces, but I love using soft pastel on it.

  3. Thanks for your response…I also have used the golden pastel ground .i have taken many classes with Robert Carsten ( nicest guy and generous teacher)
    he is using uart 250 and 400 .
    Wallis had been hard to get and it seems available now . Colorfix is my old standby for classes . You mentioned that you taught a class in Falmouth , I visit there a bout five times a year and if you are teaching there again I would love to take one .I live in upstate NY. I am assuming. It’s Falmouth Mass and you teach at Falmouth Art Center. Sandi

    • YES! I’ll be teaching a workshop at the Falmouth Art Center June 16-18 (M-W), 2014. Just reduced the price! Contact Suzy Bergman–she’ll be delighted! I know Robert Carsten (he’s in my book). He is a very lovely person and you are fortunate to be able to study with him. Would love to have you in the workshop next summer.

    • Sandi–I’m learning a lot about working on a different surface. I love Giraults and tend to use them a lot. On this surface, they fill it in completely! I used them for the darks on the silos. Interestingly, the softer pastels tend to sit on the surface and I find I can scumble them more easily. I really like the Unisons and Ludwigs because they aren’t so soft. In my studio, I have a lot of Schminckes and Great Americans and I find I can use these successfully with a very light touch. My Ludwigs are at home, primarily. I love the shape and feel and the grayed colors that I have.

      I’m glad you like the picture. I think the shapes are good, but I’m not happy with the values. I think it would have worked better either with a darker foreground with patches of snow, or darker buildings. I really, really DON’T want to brush them down again, however!

  4. Ravi de vous connaitre, très beau site et très beau travail.
    Pour info: nous sommes ensembles comme jury du salon
    de St Aulaye
    Jean Claude Baumier ( Membre et enseignant de la Société des Pastellistes de France )

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